Let's "play" with Caravaggio!

Under the hammer

The news that, after forty years of "absence", a Caravaggio will be put for sale has aroused great interest among the press, the curious and collectors. Between 27 and 29 of January, Christie's will propose, as part of the Old Masters Week, the oil on canvas Boy peeling a fruit of which there are at least ten versions and whose estimate is between 3 and 5 million dollars. 
We know that a work with this subject was one of the first made by the Master after his arrival in Rome, and which was already showing one of the hallmarks of his style: the use and representation of light. A subject most likely painted from life, one of the first examples of fusion between the genre of still life and the half-length portrait. Several different meanings were attributed by art historians to the painting, sometimes seen as an allegory of autumn, or the sense of taste, or as a warning, or as a simple interest of the painter for this genre. 

But is that the original copy? 
Once part of the collection of the renowned English portrait painter Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1791), the painting has been exhibited several times, in New York, London, Naples and Rome. 
We would like propose a little game here: here you can see four versions of the Child Peeling a pommel. Which one would you say is the original?
There are not many Caravaggio paintings which are part of private collections. Art-Test Florence has had the pleasure to perform diagnostic campaigns on various works of Caravaggio's, private and public, including one of the very same subject that is among the ones pictured above. 
Certainly  an  ad-hoc   diagnostic   campaign can help to shed the light on uncertainties and dispel doubts on authenticity! Scientific investigations have allowed us both to make new discoveries (remember the self-portrait of Caravaggio identified in the Uffizi Bacchus' pitcher) and to confirm the authenticity (e.g. the "Saint Jerome Writing" of the Oratory of St. John's Co-Cathedral in La Valletta, Malta).
Would you feel comfortable offering some 5 million dollars without any scientific investigation? 
Caravaggio Christie's:

European Art's the Bozar!

Concluding the semester of Italian Presidency of the EU Council and the exhibition "Ars Narrandi in Euope's Gothic Age" at the Bozar, i.e. the Centre de Beaux-Arts in Brussels, (exhibition to be hosted from March 21 to August 17, 2015 at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rouen), a symposium entitled "Path to Europe: influences and contacts between Byzantium and the low countries" organized by BOZAR-EXPO in collaboration with the Catholic University of Louvain and the Leventis Foundation of Nicosia will take place on  Sunday, January 18, 2015
Paul Dujardin, artistic director of the Bozar, and Bernard Coulie, Honorary Rector and President of the Catholic University of Leuven, will welcome speakers at this conference focusing on how the influence of Byzantine painting on Flemish art through the mediation of the Italian cities, with particular reference to the role played by Siena. 
Among the speakers, Dr. Mario Scalini, one of the curators of the exhibition "Ars Narrandi in Euope's Gothic Age", Soprintendente BSAE of Siena and Grosseto, who will hold a lecture entitled "Angelicae Cohortes: notes about armored saints and angels from Byzantium to the Low countries". 
The speech of Dr. Anna Pelagotti for Art-Test, "Under the gold: a database of underdrawing and material analyses on Sienese Paintings. Connections and dissimilarities among painting techniques across centuries and countries ", will address the close relationship between the art object and the techniques used to achieve it and introduce the database of diagnostic investigations over hundred paintings from the Pinacoteca di Siena Art-Test Florence carried out in the past few months, in collaboration with the Soprintendenza of Siena and Grosseto, designed to compare and learn about the styles and techniques of about 65 artists between the thirteenth and fifteenth century and which can now be purchased ( either complete or by individual images.
For program details and for a free registration to the symposium, please visit the dedicated webpage of the Bozar at
The Italian Association of Archaeometry (AIAR) has initiated a coordination between companies operating in the sector of Cultural Heritage (multinationals, small and medium enterprises or spin-offs), thanks to the initiative of young people who have trained at several institutions and Universities and who are now (or have been) members of the AIAR. The purpose of these meetings is the circulation of ideas and information among experts in the field of diagnostic, conservation, fruition of cultural heritage, and the promotion  of possible cooperations and joint projects.
A first meeting was held in Milan last October 2014 and brought together mainly the experiences of Northern Italy. The next January 26 will be the time of the meeting at the University of Calabria in Arcavacata (Cosenza) and will bring together the operators of Centre South. Art-Test Florence and S.t.Art-Test will participate illustrating their many years of experience in the study and in the market of diagnostics for Cultural Heritage.
Click on the picture to visit Aiar web site:
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